The Digital Signage Insider

Distilling the industry

Published on: 2004-02-19

These days, whether discussing the architecture of our next-generation software, helping a client plan a complex kiosk or signage deployment, or preparing marketing materials for WireSpring, my thoughts always revolve around the same few thoughts and observations. I wonder if it would be worth trying to distill everything down to a few key points. They would include...

1. Find the ROI, quick!

Deployments that have no clear goals aren't going to be viable, even in the short-term. Don't bother adding in a feature that won't allow customers to derive additional value, and don't bother with a kiosk or digital signage deployment that doesn't have a clear sense of how it will make a return on investment (or when, for that matter).

It's easier to spot the ROI for revenue-generators like the Kodak Photo Kiosks that are appearing everywhere, but how do you figure out what it is for an information kiosk or content-based digital signage network?

According to this article at Internet Retailer, kiosks in retail stores are used primarily in the following ways:

- Placing orders on the web 56%

- Checking product information 33%

- Searching for product availability 22%

- Accessing retailer's web site 11%

I can see how tracking direct sales over the kiosk would lead to a clear ROI calculation. And you could also figure how checking product availability could lift sales of particular products. But what about accessing the website? Do these customers have the sophistication to figure out if searching for product information lifts any sales at all? Sales of the product in question? A competing product?

2. Companies who lose their sense of urgency lose their edge

It could just be that WireSpring is a sales-driven organization, so I'm just being biased, but it seems to me that customers who have a sense of urgency throughout the life of their project seem to do better. Don't get me wrong, interactive kiosk and digital signage networks are highly complex, and require a lot of planning and attention to detail. And those things shouldn't be rushed. But when somebody starts a project up and delays it, or puts it off again and again, or creates deadlines that don't need to be met, it says that the project isn't going to be integral to the company's operations. Those projects are not only hard to close (for us, the vendor), but they seem to have a very limited return for the customer, and thus a limited lifetime.

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